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Virtual TFAS Summer Law Fellowship Provides Transformative Experience for Students from Nation’s Top Law Schools

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Twenty-six students from top law schools across the country gathered to celebrate the conclusion of the 2020 TFAS Summer Law Fellowship with a virtual closing ceremony on July 23. This year’s ceremony featured a keynote address from U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Neomi Rao, as well as remarks from current Fellows, TFAS faculty and staff.

My internship was a huge stepping stone that TFAS has given me to really advance my career.” – Noelle Daniel, Law ’20

TFAS Summer Law Fellow Noelle Daniel, Law ’20, shared what she learned through the Fellowship’s immersive academic and professional components. The University of Kansas School of Law student emphasized the professional impact of her internship with Americans United for Life, where she participated in innovative research alongside prominent legal scholars.

Noelle Daniel, Law ’20, shared remarks with her classmates during the 2020 TFAS Summer Law Fellowship Closing Ceremony.

“I was researching things that no one has ever dug into yet,” Daniel said. “It was new, groundbreaking work that I got to be a part of,” Daniel said. “My internship was a huge stepping stone that TFAS has given me to really advance my career.”

Though the 2020 Summer Law Fellowship could not be hosted in person this summer, Fellows kept a rigorous schedule of remote legal internships, online academic coursework, and virtual networking and career development sessions.

The Fellows’ two-credit course on “Constitutional Interpretation: The Debate over Originalism” was taught by esteemed scholar Dr. Jeremy Rabkin, a professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School.

Fellows heard from leading constitutional scholars, judges and practicing attorneys through a law and public policy lecture series, including discussions with Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, Hadley Arkes of the James Wilson Institute, and Brad Smith of the Institute for Free Speech.

TFAS Academic Director Dr. Anne Bradley also led a discussion on how Fellows could apply the economic way of thinking throughout their careers and gave an overview on how economic liberties have been treated by the courts.

Professor Jeremy Rabkin taught a virtual course on “Constitutional Interpretation: The Debate over Originalism.”

A highlight of the summer was the inaugural lecture series titled, “Thoughts from the Bench.” TFAS Summer Law Fellows participated in these exclusive discussions with the nation’s leading federal judges including Judge Amul Thapar, Judge Lisa Branch, Judge Chad Readler and Judge Ryan Holte. The series gave the Fellows the rare chance to ask current judges insightful questions on their careers, how they climbed to their current position, opinions on significant cases and advice on clerkships.

Florida State University College of Law student Jorge Alfonso, Law ’20, said he feels better prepared for his future after hearing about the professional journeys of such prominent figures in the legal field.

“My favorite part of the Summer Law Fellowship was meeting with so many federal judges and listening to their stories on how they got to the Bench,” Alfonso said. “This program has prepared me for my future as a legal professional by having me read important constitutional law cases and also network with such prominent attorneys and judges.”

This program has been a huge benefit to me – not only personally, but also professionally and intellectually. It’s been stimulating from beginning to end.” – Luke Bunting, Law ’20

During the closing ceremony, Luke Bunting, Law ’20, also shared testimony remarks on behalf of the 2020 cohort, emphasizing the impact that the coursework and guest lectures had on his professional development this summer. After completing his first year at Georgetown University Law Center, Bunting shared he was hesitant to participate in the intensive nine-week Fellowship. However, he ended the summer with a strong network of legal professionals and a broader perspective on law and policy.

Luke Bunting, Law ’20, participated in virtual guest lectures and online classes from his at-home work space this summer.

“When I finished my 1L year, I was pretty burnt out and the last thing I thought I would want to do is take another class throughout the summer in addition to a summer internship,” Bunting said. “This program has been a huge benefit to me – not only personally, but also professionally and intellectually. It’s been stimulating from beginning to end.”

The TFAS Summer Law Fellowship is a nine-week program that prepares law students to defend the values and ideals of a free society rooted in individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise and constitutional originalism. To learn more about this summer’s Fellowship and the 2020 cohort, visit TFAS.org/Law20.

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